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Volunteer Spotlight: Neil

Posted on April 29, 2021

As a former PE teacher and FortWhyte Alive’s resident bike guy, Neil knows a few things about the power of getting outside and being active.

One of his favourite ways to explore FortWhyte Alive’s trails is safely on two wheels. So, when he noticed that folks weren’t wearing bike rental helmets because they weren’t very comfortable he knew he had to do something. And he went above and beyond.

Through the winter, he worked with his cycling friends at The Second Wind Cycling Club and the Portage location of Olympia Cycle and Ski to raise funds to purchase 11 user-friendly, safe helmets for our rental fleet.

For your commitment to cycling and FortWhyte, thank you, Neil!

(The Second Wind Cycling Club — Left to right: Neil Sander, Bob Preston, Len Warren, Ken Preston, Clint Toews, Ralph Schnell)

“I see my role as not only fixing bikes but to be an ambassador for FortWhyte Alive.”

- Neil

What drew you to volunteering at FWA?

As a former Physical Education teacher, I have been aware of FortWhyte Alive’s programs for years. In addition, I have been a life-long proponent of active living and a cyclist. When Barret Miller approached me with a specific need for a volunteer to maintain, clean, and manage FortWhyte Alive’s fleet of rental bikes, I said I would give it a try. And that was five years ago!

 

What do you love about volunteering at FWA?

FWA seems to have volunteering ‘figured out”. As a volunteer, I was welcomed and given a great orientation with Sharyl. In my role as “the bike guy” I am free to come and go on my own time and love visiting with other cyclists passing by the Bike Library. FWA has been proactive in promoting active lifestyles and recognizes the importance of active transportation in our society. I was encouraged to see FWA set up a bike repair stand for all to use.

It’s also a great community of people. Hopefully, after COVID we can get back to enjoying the great volunteer food events!

 

What would you say to someone interested in volunteering at FWA?

Based on my experience, FWA really appreciates the many volunteers that help in all aspects: school and nature programs, special events, and the many gardeners and behind the scene helpers. FWA values your time, expertise, and help. My advice is to give FWA a call tomorrow.

What has been your favourite volunteer experience at FWA?

I love it when folks stop and ask about getting into cycling. One gentleman needed help and advice on a poor rear bike tire and I made some suggestions to him. A few weeks later he stooped by again to let me know that my advice was spot-on and was thankful for the help. I see my role as not only fixing bikes but to be an ambassador for FortWhyte Alive.

 

Thank you, Neil.

From all of us, thank you for your commitment to FortWhyte and the contributions you’ve made in helping others connect with nature.

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Volunteers are the lifeblood of FortWhyte Alive. They come from all walks of life. From retired professionals looking for something different to students looking to gain experience, what they have in common is a desire to make a sustainable impact.

Head to fortwhyte.org/volunteering to learn more and apply to be a volunteer.